Featured Interviews

The GHB Interview: Mike Forsum, President and Chief Operating Officer, Landsea Homes

Building professional discusses Landsea Homes’ sustainability practices, and the evolving industry from sales tactics to where the market is headed

Green Home Builder: How does Landsea Homes distinguish itself from other homebuilders in terms of sustainability practices and energy-efficient construction methods?

Mike Forsum: There are many who talk about building green, but there are few who actually do it. The philosophy of sustainable building is part of the fabric of Landsea Homes. 

Our investments in new home technology and innovation through the creation of our High-Performance Homes give us a distinct selling advantage against the competition and provide a real value proposition for buyers in the market. 

Our High-Performance Homes focus on four key pillars including sustainability, healthy living, home automation and energy savings. Each home is thoughtfully planned with high efficiency and state-of-the-art technology. 

The smart home automation technology is utilized by the Apple HomeKit™ environment and features include an Apple HomePod mini, wireless network Internet throughout the home, entry door locks, thermostat control, garage door opener control, light dimmer switches, doorbell camera pre-wire and smart home activation services through a partnership with Best Buy’s Geek Squad. We take it one step further to ensure buyers have use of these smart home features the day they move in. 

We also use environmentally conscious, low-VOC building materials to lessen the impact on the planet, and each home comes with upgraded roof insulation, upgraded wall insulation, more efficient mechanical systems, ENERGY STAR® rated appliances and LED lighting. 

Another goal is to lower monthly bills and encourage environmental awareness and stewardship, and we are constantly looking for ways to achieve this in all of our markets. For example, in our Austin market, every home we build carries a HERS rating and is certified by ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor AirPlus program, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program. In Northern California, in our community called Verandah, our homes are all-electric and include a standard solar lease when purchased.  

GHB: How many markets and divisions does Landsea Homes currently operate in, and what are their future plans?

MF: Landsea Homes currently operates in prime locations across the country including in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Texas. We continue to focus on our growth to become the top homebuilder in every market where we operate. 

GHB: How does Landsea Homes address the challenges posed by the current labor and material shortage?

MF: We are seeing better labor and material availability in each of our markets, which has resulted in better cycle times and improved inventory terms. 

GHB: How does Landsea Homes tailor its sales approach to appeal to millennials and Gen Z buyers?

MF: We pride ourselves on delivering attainably priced, High-Performance Homes for entry-level and first-time homebuyers, many of whom are millennials and Gen Z buyers. This is what we are known for across all of our markets, and this is, I believe, one of our greatest differentiators amongst other leading homebuilders. 

We offer a variety of new home products, but our attached and higher-density products in certain markets enable us to keep our entry-level price point “attainable” and within reach of more new homebuyers. Bringing attainable housing products helps to offset rising land and home costs and support our expansion into densely populated markets. 

In terms of sales and marketing strategies we use to reach these millennial and Gen Z buyers, we’ve worked extremely hard to offer various homebuyer resources to provide valuable insight that equips them for the home buying process – whether it’s a video explaining different loan programs or a blog post outlining home buying tips. We also started an educational video series called “Mortgage Minute” focused solely on helping homebuyers learn more about the financial offerings and solutions that are right for them with Landsea Mortgage. We like to call it “edutainment.” We are also very active across social media channels, which are key platforms we know millennials and Gen Z buyers frequent, especially when buying a house.

GHB: What are Landsea Homes’ predictions for the direction of the new home sales market?

MF: We continue to see motivated buyers across the board. Our ability to offer an array of homes with attractive financing incentives and our leading High-Performance Homes gives us a distinct selling advantage against the competition and provides a real value proposition for buyers in the market. 

We remain optimistic about the new home market despite some of the current challenges, thanks to a resilient job market, favorable demographics and a limited supply of existing home inventory.